Grab & Go

“Better safe, than sorry!”

If one were asked to summarize an Emergency Preparedness philosophy in a succinct, no-nonsense maxim, "better safe, than sorry" would definitely be it. Defined simply as: "a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action," responding safely and effectively to any emergency requires thoughtful planning ahead of time, streamlined procedures, trained staff, and capable leaders. Planning. Just because you can’t plan for everything, [...]

Is An Owner Capital Campaign Right For Your Co-op?

It seems like many co-ops are either in the middle of, just finished, or are about to start a project. And all of those projects need adequate capital to be successful. Raising money from co-op owners has become a standard component of project capitalization and the amounts co-ops are raising has been growing. As with any entrepreneurial venture there are risks, both in raising [...]

Bridging the Gap. Interim General Management

Like any business, cooperatives need capable management at all times. Emergency management succession planning is essential but despite this planning, sometimes a co-op finds itself in need of a steady experienced hand to manage the co-op during a GM transition. Interim General Managers (IGMs) provide stable and competent management allowing the board of directors to focus on hiring. Here are some steps and things [...]

Make Your Produce Holiday Season a Success

Traditionally a time of community events and gathering together to celebrate the bounty of the season’s agricultural harvest, the Thanksgiving holiday is a great opportunity for food co-ops to stand out and highlight what they have to offer! Here are a few seasonal suggestions to help make your produce holiday season a success. Planning. Having the right amount of all the seasonal staples in [...]

Responding to Workplace Conflicts

Whenever people work together, conflicts will naturally arise. Here’s a framework to help leaders resolve conflicts. This article will describe three categories of conflicts and a process that can be used to resolve each. _______________________________________________________________ Allegations of management misconduct If employees believe a manager has committed unethical and/or illegal acts, (e.g. theft, harassment), they need to inform the GM, or if the GM is [...]

The Cooperative Advantage

Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious. Just because we have co-op in our name does not mean that people will really understand what that means. The formal definition of a cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise. But we need to give that meaning life. [...]

The Cooperative Difference is Your Competitive Advantage

 Ownership is what distinguishes cooperatives from other businesses, and what creates value and benefit to people in local communities. It’s why co-ops operate with their customer’s best interests as their focus. It’s how cohesion in neighborhoods is built and sustained. Every co-op needs a strong membership program that will serve the business and strengthen the co-op’s role in the community. Building a shared understanding [...]

Officer Elections and Board Leadership

It is a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it… anyone who is capable of getting themselves made …[leader]… should on no account be allowed to do the job. - Douglas Adams, 1952-2001 The question who ought to be boss is like who ought to be the tenor in the quartet? [...]

Branding your store

Most co-ops know that it’s important that shoppers see your brand. After all consumers encounter an average of about 5,000 marketing messages per day! It’s important that your brand be memorable, speak to who you are as a co-op and consistent so shoppers know exactly where to go for their grocery needs. But how can your co-op use its brand to its full potential? [...]

Excellent Staff Communication—the Pillar of Change Management

Now more than ever, co-ops must adapt to market forces and make changes to survive and thrive in the marketplace. So much change can be hard on staff members, especially if some staff feel those changes are moving the co-op in a direction that could be perceived as less cooperative or more “corporate”. Exceptional communication strategies are key to keeping staff members informed and [...]